Journal Entry ~ 10/02/17
1 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble
3 and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south. - Psalm 107:1-3
This psalm was most likely written after the Israelites were held captive in Babylon, and then returned. When you read Psalm 106, there is a plea to be saved and gathered from the nations. Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise. - Psalm 106:47. Here, we read in these first few verses of 107, the psalmist is praising God for doing just that - for gathering His people who have been scattered across the land and bringing them home. They cried out to God and He answered. They had no power to save themselves. They knew only God could rescue them, and so they cried out to Him.
In order to receive God’s mercy and grace, you must get to this point. You must come to the end of yourself and cry out to Him for His undeserved favor, trusting He will pour out His mercy and grace into your life - that’s when you’ll see Him work. The author of these verses is trying to teach us how God uses difficult trials to drive us to trust Him. It can be so hard to trust in His plan when you’re facing mountains in your way, but that’s when He does His greatest work.
Heard a great truth from pastor James this weekend: Christianity is not fair in this life - and if you think it is, you’re doomed to live without hope. We get tired when we lose hope, when we believe our efforts will not yield improvement. Powerful words for me as I walk into this week. This doesn’t feel fair, and it would be real easy for me to head down that path of anger and bitterness where hope is lost. I’ve lived most of my adult life as a believer, loving and serving the Lord. How is this diagnosis fair? Why doesn’t He give this to someone who deserves it? I’ve done everything in my power to ensure this doesn’t happen - I’ve lived a healthy life, I get tested on time. But none of what I’ve done has made a difference - here I am. It's not fair. Hearing those words this weekend immediately made me think of a book I’ve studied and used to guide my teaching philosophy in my classroom : Fair Isn’t Always Equal. Since these words have had an impact on me in my professional life, they immediately hit me sitting in church this weekend. Fair isn’t always equal. I would never treat my students all the same. I look at my students as individuals, and I labor over their differentiation. I look for ways to uniquely craft instruction, assessment, motivation, and discipline so that each of my students grow to reach their full potential. From my students' perspectives, it may appear as if I'm not always fair, but I'm quick to remind them that fair isn't always equal. Doesn't God do the same with each one of us? God never promised this walk would be fair - that’s not where we find our Hope. We find our Hope in the confident knowledge that He loves each one of us with a steadfast, unshakable love, and He wants nothing less than the best for each of us. He knows what will bring good into each of our lives individually, what will have the greatest impact on the people in our lives, and that’s what He is working to bring about.
I’ve got mountains in my life that I’ve been praying for Him to move for a long time - mountains bigger than this cancer. I’m trusting that His perfect plan is working to bring about changes in the hearts of people I love who don’t know Him. Those are the mountains I want Him to move. And if this is all part of the plan to move those mountains, I trust that His plan is for good. It doesn’t have to be fair - He doesn’t promise that. But He does promise it’s for good, and that I’m hanging on to today.
Press on ~ you are loved
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